Overland Monthly / OV084 - God's Chosen People (V. The Jubilee of Restoration)
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OV84 V. The Jubilee of Restoration
BY C. T. RUSSELL Pastor Brooklyn Tabernacle
GOD GAVE his chosen people two distinct sets of Sabbaths or rests. Not only was the seventh day appointed to them for resting from earthly toil as profitable to their physical well being, but additionally those Sabbath days were types, which pointed forward to a future rest of heart and mind. At the beginning of each year a cycle was marked—7 x 7 days. Following this multiple, early in the ecclesiastical year, after the passover and the waving of the "sheaf of first fruits," which typified our Lord’s resurrection to the heavenly plane, came the fiftieth day. On this day there came a great blessing to all of the Children of Israel who were in the proper condition of heart. It typified the beginning of the real rest of heart and mind which was thus foreshown. It was participated in by all the chosen people who were in heart readiness and who accepted Jesus as Messiah. Subsequently, after all of the saintly ones of the chosen people had entered thus into a rest or Sabbath keeping in their hearts, the door to this privilege was opened to a similar class from amongst the Gentiles. This rest of mind and heart, typified in the Pentecostal day and its blessings, was but the earnest or foretaste of a still greater blessing and rest to be entered into by the faithful at the end of the race set before them. —#Heb 12:1.
But the chosen people had not merely day Sabbaths. They had also year Sabbaths; for every seventh year was a Sabbatic year. And these Sabbatic years had a cycle similar to that of the Sabbath days. Seven times seven years brought them to the fiftieth year, which was a special Sabbatic year, just as the fiftieth day was a special Sabbatic day. As the Sabbath days could be observed by the chosen people anywhere and everywhere, so the rest which they typified may be enjoyed by the consecrated.everywhere under all conditions. But the Sabbath years were not so! These could be observed only while in their own land; for these related to that land.—#Le 25:1-55.
Israel’s Jubilee Year.
Undoubtedly the Jubilee year was a wise and beneficent arrangement for God’s chosen people by Jehovah, their great King. It was more than merely an economic arrangement for the prevention of the accumulation of property in the hands of the few. It was also typical of the great "Times of Restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began."—#Ac 3:19-21. Let us first examine the Jubilee as a social and financial safety arrangement for the preservation of the rights and interests of the less successful of the people of Israel. Every fiftieth year was to be a jubilee
OV85 year in which property that had been mortgaged or liened for debt would revert to its original owner free from all encumbrance. Similarly, if a family had gotten into straits and not only had lost its homestead but had gone into servitude, in the fiftieth year not only the estate would be free, but all obligations of service would terminate.
In the Jubilee year every man returned to his original rights and possessions. Nor was this unjust to anybody. Every one knew in advance that a loan or debt or contract for the property of another could last only to the fiftieth year. Hence all valuation of property and of service rendered was based upon this arrangement, and the valuation was greater in proportion as the Jubilee year was afar off, and less as it drew near. Thus, under Divine arrangement, it was impossible for the land of Israel to get into the hands of great landlords, trusts, etc. The property right inhered in the family. But Israel did not particularly care for this arrangement, and it gradually fell into disuse. The Almighty did not insist upon its continuance. Its chief value was that of a type pointing forward to a greater time of Restitution, when Adam and all of his children would be permitted to come back from the "land of the enemy," (#Jer 31:16), from the power of the grave and from under the dominion of sin and death—back to harmony with God, to perfection of human nature, to inheritance of the land and all the blessings and rights and privileges which originally belonged to Father Adam. The human family is to come into all these rights and privileges lost in Eden and redeemed at Calvary, when the great Messiah shall come in power and great glory to establish in the earth his Millennial Kingdom. The first to be blessed under that Kingdom arrangement will be God’s chosen people; and subsequently, all nations will receive a similar share by coming under the same conditions and participating in Israel’s New (Law) Covenant.—#Isa 2:3,4; #Zec 14:16,17.
The Restitution blessings outlined by the prophets include the restoration of Israel to Divine favor, their re-possession and control of Palestine, and the sending forth of the Abrahamic blessings through them to all people. The Restitution will include the bringing of the earth to full perfection, as was symbolically represented in the Garden of Eden. It will include the lifting of humanity out of mental, moral and physical imperfection up, up, up, to the grand heights of human perfection in the image and likeness of the Creator, to the original estate which Father Adam lost and which is to be restored to him. The Millennial Age, the reign of Messiah, will be the anti-typical Jubilee time, in which gladness and rejoicing will come to earth, and come to stay; for all who refuse the gracious privileges and opportunities of that time and do despite to the favor of God knowingly, willingly, intentionally, will be cut off from life in the Second Death, from which there will be no recovery.
Blowing Silver Trumpets.
At the opening of the Jubilee year it became the duty of the priests to blow upon the silver trumpets the note proclaiming "liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." (#Le 25:9,10.) The bugle note sounded by the priest was repeated everywhere upon ram’s horns and everything that would make a joyful sound proclaiming liberty. Doubtless some of those who heard might have been ready to dispute the correctness of the message, claiming that there was a mistake.
Doubtless some who heard the proclamation of liberty were boisterous and extreme in their jubilation and unwise in their conduct. Certainly the Jubilee year in its beginning must have been a time of general tumult and rupture. The holders of the land and the beneficiaries of services rendered may have been slow to surrender them, while those to whom they belonged by Divine right might often have been impatient because of delay and thus become unreasonable in their demands for immediate possession. We are about to show that the Divine Word teaches that this great anti-typical Jubilee period of one thousand years is already upon us; that we are now in the time when the priests are blowing the silver trumpets—the Truth of God’s Word—and when the common people everywhere are waking up and vociferously
OV86 shouting for freedom and for their rights—sometimes unwise in their impatience and rude in their haste. It is right that humanity should enter into all the blessings of this Jubilee period which has been Divinely provided. But Divine Providence should be noted and its leadings should be followed. The people should understand that as surely as it is God’s arrangement that the Jubilee Restitution shall be ushered in, so surely it will come to pass; for all of God’s purposes shall be accomplished. (#Isa 55:11.)
There should be no breathless haste, but a quiet, patient, faithful waiting on Jehovah. The Lord, however, tells us that many will be impatient; that, as a result, there will come upon the world "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation," and that the trouble time will serve as the opening of the door to the Jubilee procedure of Restitution. Hear the exhortation of the Prophet, "Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day when I arise to the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for the whole earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy," zeal, anger. Nor are we to understand that this will be a literal fire, but terrible trouble causing great distress, for the next verse shows that the people survive the trouble. There we read, "Then will I turn to the people a pure message (the pure Gospel of the Love and the Justice of God) that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent."—#Zep 3:8,9.
Echoing the voice of God through the holy Scriptures, we warn all who have an ear to hear this message, that they desist from any attempt to bring in the great Jubilee too hastily. The great leveling of humanity, rich and poor, is coming, and coming speedily, because the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The great Jubilee with its restoration of human rights to every child of Adam is already upon us. Blessed will those be who, recognizing the fact, shall most speedily and most heartily join in and co-operate with the Divine arrangement. Let the rich exercise benevolence of heart and rejoice to turn their millions into channels of usefulness for the people, and let them do it speedily, whether along the lines of Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Carnegie, or along other lines of their own choosing. Let them not delay. Let them not think that all things will continue as they have been in the past. The anti-typical Jubilee has come. Its silver trumpet is now sounding in our ears. Already the rabble are clamoring and restless. Scarcely can they be persuaded to bide their time and wait for Divine Providence to give them the promised blessing. Indeed, they know not God; they discern not that this Jubilee is of his provision and is coming in its due time, appointed of the Almighty. They vainly think that they are bringing it to pass themselves; and that they must force the issue and grasp the coveted prize of equal rights, wealth and leisure. Only in the light of the Scriptures can the peculiar condition of things now at our doors be understood or appreciated. From God’s Word comes the soundest of advice. But, alas! the great intellects of the world have discarded the Bible and have gathered to themselves other teachers, who set forth as worldly wisdom, doctrines of Evolution and of the wonderful progress of the race.
These doctrines, the Bible tells us, will speedily come to naught, and prove the wisdom of the world’s wise men to be foolishness.—#Isa 29:14,15; #1Co 1:19; #Pr 14:8.
Humility and Righteousness Necessary.
The exhortation of the Bible respecting the present hour is profitable to both rich and poor. But alas! few of either class are in the attitude of mind to hear. The message is, "Seek righteousness; seek meekness: it may be that ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger." (#Zep 2:3.) "Be wise, therefore, ye kings of the earth (including the financial kings.) Kiss the Son (salute, recognize the great King of Glory, whose Millennial Kingdom is at hand with its anti-typical year of Jubilee for Israel and for all the families of the earth) lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his anger is kindled (in the very beginning of this day of anger) but a little" (against you.) —#Ps 2:10-12.
OV87 The Anti-typical Jubilee Begun.
Having shown that the great Jubilee of a thousand years will begin by a terrible time of trouble incidental to the returning of mankind to their long-lost inheritance, we will offer some harmonious prophecies based upon the Jubilee type. These show that the Jubilee chronologically began A.D. 1875. Since then the masses have been struggling for their "rights," sometimes by wise, and at other times by unwise methods. Everywhere the anti-typical ram’s horns are being blown and "rights" is the watch-word! Meantime, capital and vested interests, not realizing that the Jubilee "Times of Restitution" are at hand, are perplexed at the situation, alarmed! Legal talent and all worldly wisdom have been summoned in the endeavor to hold fast every point that has been gained, and to relinquish and restore—nothing! The Times of Restitution shall not come if the Trusts can possibly bar the way. Elated at their success, they believe themselves stronger, more thoroughly entrenched than ever in the control of the money power and of the earth. They hold that everything is purchasable with money—"that every man has his price." The great struggle, the time of trouble, will be precipitated as a result of the extreme confidence entertained by both sides of the question. Organized labor and organized capital, each self-confident, are about to precipitate the most terrible disaster that has ever befallen Christendom—world-wide anarchy. Neither will hear; neither can understand the situation. It remains for such as have the hearing ear to heed the message of God’s word, "Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger."—#Zep 2:3.
The Mathematical Calculation.
We have already noted the fact that the multiple system applies in connection with the day Sabbaths and the year Sabbaths, culminating in a fiftieth or Jubilee. We hold that this fact furnishes the Divinely intended key to show the date at which the anti-typical Jubilee will be ushered in. It will be the great Jubilee of Jubilees, reached by the same method of counting, 50 x 50 years, or, in all, 2,500 years. The question is, When should we begin the counting of this cycle? The reply is, that where the type ceased to be observed the great cycle began. In other words, God preserved the type until the proper time for the anti-typical cycle to begin to count. We know that the Hebrew people maintained their Jubilee system very imperfectly and with more or less dissatisfaction until the overthrow of their polity. When Zedekiah’s Government was overthrown and the people were taken into captivity for seventy years by Nebuchadnezzar, during this period the typical Jubilee must have ceased, because it could be observed only while in their own land. Prior to that time, although repeatedly delivered into captivity to their enemies, they were never out of their land long enough to prevent the celebration of the Jubilee. And so far as any record shows, the Israelites have never observed a Jubilee year since their return from Babylonish captivity. Moreover, the Lord, through the Prophet Jeremiah, distinctly tells us that Israel’s observance of the Jubilee Sabbath years was unsatisfactory, and that he made desolate their land during those seventy years in order that it might have the full number of Sabbaths, which he had designed, and which the people had selfishly neglected to observe. All of those seventy years of captivity were Jubilee years and the land had rest—none being observed subsequently. We quote the Scriptures on this subject: "Them that had escaped from the sword he (Nebuchadnezzar) carried away to Babylon, where they were servants to him and his sons, until the reign of the Kingdom of Persia: To fulfill the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath to fulfill three score and ten years." (#2Ch 36:20,21.) Thus we know when the seventy years desolation began; namely, A.D. 606. But how may we determine just when Israel observed their last Jubilee? To answer this question, we must reckon from the time when the Jubilee system of counting began down to 606 B.C., the beginning of the
OV88 captivity, and then divide that total of years by 50. This would show us how many Jubilees Israel had already kept unsatisfactorily; and the remainder would represent the number of years which had elapsed between the last unsatisfactory Jubilee and the carrying into captivity. The Scriptures distinctly inform us that the counting of the years of Jubilee began when Israel entered Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. There were 6 years from the crossing of Jordan until the division of the land; then a period of judges, 450 years; and a period of kings, 513 years; total 969 years, to the desolation of the land at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. This number, divided by 50, would show that 19 Jubilees had passed, and that the last one occurred 19 years before the captivity. Understanding that where the type ceased, the anti-typical cycle began to count, we add thus: 19 years from the 19th Jubilee to the desolation; 70 years of desolation; from then until A.D. 1, 536 years; from A.D. 1 to A.D. 1874; the total would be the sum of 19, 70, 536 and 1874, namely 2499 years. As the Jubilee of Jubilees would come in the 2500th year, it follows that the year 1875 would correspond to that year. Since the anti-type, however, was not to be one year, but a thousand years, we understand that it was the thousand-year Jubilee which began in 1875. This seems comparatively strong and clear as a Scriptural argument, and certainly comports well with the facts of history, and is just what we should expect in this day of blowing the anti-typical trumpet and general commotion on the part of those desirous of getting quickly into their Jubilee rights.
The Jubilees According to Prophecy.
The Law sets things forth exactly as they should be. The great cycle, 50 x 50—2500 years—should begin just where the typical Jubilee ceased, as we have just seen. But prophecy shows matters from another standpoint; it foretells matters just as they will occur. Thus, through the Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord informs us that the total number of Jubilees would be seventy. The total number may thus be counted in two different ways. We have seen that nineteen Jubilees were observed unsatisfactorily. These, deducted from 70, would leave 51 of the 7 x 7 cycles to be fulfilled. But since the Jubilees were not observed, these cycles only, without the 50th year, should be counted, and these were 49 years each. 51 x 49, or 2499 years, would therefore represent 51 cycles without Jubilees; and as there were 19 cycles with Jubilees, this would make 19 x 50—950 years. Thus we have the full 70 cycles shown; and 2499 plus 950—3449—which is the number of years from their first Jubilee on entering Canaan, to the close of the year 1874 A.D. So we reach the same date as by the Law method of counting. The whole world, as well as Israel, has an interest in the Jubilee and its "Restitution of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets." (#Ac 3:20.) But to Israel the Restitution blessings will come first, after the stress of the great time of trouble, in which the chosen people will have their share—"the time of Jacob’s trouble." The Millennial blessings will begin with Israel.
Their law-givers will be restored as at the first, and their judges as at the beginning. (#Isa 1:26.)
The Lord will assume the guidance and control and blessing and uplifting and restitution of all the willing and obedient—to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.—#Ro 11:25-31; 1:16.
THE beam that shines from Zion’s hill Shall lighten every land; The King who reigns in Salem’s tow’rs Shall all the world command.